On this edition of The Exchange listen as Ed Stetzer and Pastor Gene Appel discuss the journey of church revitalization.

Gene Appel is the senior pastor at Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim California. He helped to revitalize Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada which grew from 450 weekly attendance to 8,000 weekly attendance during his 18 years of service.

Appel is experienced with church revitalization and compares it to a farmer growing crops. In the interview, Gene breaks down the church revitalization process into four parts, preparing the soil, planting the seed, cultivating, and harvesting.

“You can’t skip the preparation step and begin planting the seed right away.”

Avoid skipping steps in the church revitalization process. Preparing the soil is essential so that when the seeds are planted they will take root and grow.

For Appel, preparing the soil meant spending six to seven months getting key leaders on board with the plan that was in place. Having a united front among the leaders of the church was essential before they could continue.

Planting the seed is the implementation of the plan that was developed previously.

The cultivating stage is all about storytelling. It is a time for the church to celebrate their short terms victories so that people will recognize how God is working in the church. This will help people embrace the revitalization process.

The cultivating stage is a recipe for conflict. People will be disgruntled by the changes happening in the church and they will leave the church during the process. Not even Jesus could please everyone, all that matters is that God is pleased with what the church is doing.

Harvesting is all about reaping the reward of changed lives that the hard work of church revitalization is producing.

How do you keep it up?

“If you aren’t raising the evangelistic values every thirty days in the church then they are slipping away.”

Evangelism is the most important function of the church. After the church has been revitalized, church members should continually be taught and encouraged to reach out to their community to fulfill the great commission.

The journey of church revitalization

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